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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Lazy Man's Quabalah

The Chicken Qabalah of Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford: Dilettante's Guide to What You Do and Do Not Need to Know to Become a QabalistThe Chicken Qabalah of Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford: Dilettante's Guide to What You Do and Do Not Need to Know to Become a Qabalist by Lon Milo DuQuette
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lon Milo Duquett is one of the most entertaining and informative writing on the subject of Quabalah and Ceremonial Magick. Using humor and wit the author uses an amusing character of a rebellious rabbi to teach the difficult and heady concepts of Quabalah . Rabbi Lamed Ben Clufford is a play on the author's real name.

A word about the spelling of Quabalah , Kabballah , and Caballah. Spelling counts here. Spelling with a K indicates Jewish mysticism , while C indicates the Christian version of things and the q is the super mystical which involves magic, tarot and numerology.

The author starts the reader off with a fictional biography of his fictional character. Then informs us that Chicken Quabalah is for people who wish to take a less painful and less dogmatic route to the study of Quabalah . There is also his fiction school. Zerubabel's institute.

Going into a rant which has his version of the ten utterances, we are informed that the universe was created from nothingness and that everything is one and interconnected . Heaven and Earth mirror each other and all of creation is reflected into everything .

The world was created by the utterance of Hebrew letters. Each Hebrew letter has numerical value and symbolic meaning. The author delves into that making the info easy to assimilate and yet giving the reader a full picture. He also gives the tarot correspondences .

Next the tee of life is examined and compared to the Hebrew letters and tarot cards. There is also discussion on gematria, notoricon and temura. Gematria is the numerical value of the words and sentences to squeeze out hidden meanings . Notoricon involves making acronyms out if works and sentences and teruma is letter replacement .

This book is a great primer for the Quabalah newbie and a good read for the advanced practitioner. As you ascend the tower if the deities name and scour the four worlds if creation you will find this book invaluable .

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Life of a Jewish Girl in Yemen

The Tainted ShadowThe Tainted Shadow by Maleeha Kamal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sarah seemed to be doomed to a life of solitude and pain. Born and raised in the poor village of Rawa, she helps the family survive by selling dolls. All the while dreaming of making money at doing herbal facial masks. Her father Andrew is an alcoholic and beggar king, who farms his wife out as a prostitute. Sara is also Jewish. Her life and fate take a sudden turn when her father sells her off into slavery. Her younger sister sneaks on board and both are fortunate enough to be maids for a kind Sheik who ships coffee. During their tenure they befriend Lulu, and Rawia. Sara puts her doll making skills to good use. After living their for 10 years the sheik Atif falls in love with her. They are set to get married but intrigue and disaster get in the way. The story is a work of fiction no doubt. The writing is choppy at time with character coming into the story without proper introduction. The plot and dialogue could use develop enemy as well. The time period of the story is unclear but I am guessing that it takes place around the 15th century shortly after z1492. The authoress mentions that many of these Jews came from Spain and Turkey. Reality is that Yemenite Jews were there even before the Muslims and Inam not so sure the Turkish and Spanish made their way to Yemen in an meaningful number. It is clear this author has knowledge of herbs but what is presented in the book seems like modern knowledge rather then what they would have used back then

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Magic Made Simple

Homemade Magick: The Musings & Mischief of a Do-It-Yourself MagusHomemade Magick: The Musings & Mischief of a Do-It-Yourself Magus by Lon Milo DuQuette
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It is only recently that I have been exposed to the works of Lon Milo Duquette, and boy I am glad to have been introduced to his works. This work like the others is easy to read, witty and makes the arduous path of magic a whole lot easier to follow. Homemade magic is a gret read for both the beginner and the more advanced practitioner.

Starting off with an introduction of a young California kid forced to move away from paradise to a boring backwater Nebraska, he teels about adjusting to new climes and meeting his future wife Candace. His description of himself I meant to inform us that only she could deal with a man like him. Baba Lon sure has a sense of humor. His life story goes through the sixties, his college life and musical career and tells about his initiation into the OTO.

The first chapter or section gets the new practitioner initiated and makes the newbie ask some very essential questions about who they are. There is a lesson about coming up with your own magical motto. Now who we are is always changing, we are constantly being reinitiated and we will always come up with new magical mottos.

The book then moves into telling the magician how to get his magical weapon and how to consecrate them. You know the chalice, wand, sword, club and pentacle. To make them Lon’s way is the best and easiest way and for someone like me who is not that hands on and is a bit lazy this is the way to go.

Lon then goes on to tell the neophyte how to turn his home into a lodge and how to make your own set of Tarot cards. THE best way to learn magic is to teach magic according to the master. He tells you some great books and then you have to read the stuff and learn it. There is no room for ego and always accept that you can be wrong. In making a magical household there is away the challenge of raising the children. Of course they should be included to the extend that they can handle it and things should not be kept hidden or spooky. I like the way he tells the reader how to use the tarot card to make a magic circle. A bit detailed and will have to be read over. Take good note.

Getting started in magic is difficult and things are not always what they seem. But getting the essentials and simplifying down to the important stuff eases the transition into magic. This is one book that I will use. Even if I do not use everything there are lots of things I will pull out and use. For example at the end he gives over Eliphas Levi’s invocation to the four directions. I will use that in may faerie workings. The Morning-Afternoon-evening salutions to the Egyptian deities is simple and easy to use. I plan on using it. His rites to Demeter are useful even if I end up modifying it to meet my own needs.

Let me leave off with a few final things and maybe two. As a husband you know everything but your wife is always right. You know how tough marriages can be, especially between two magicians. Demons in human form who disrespect you for your flagrant flaws can really end up saving your life.


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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Oppression of the Yemenites in Israel

Israeli Media and the Framing of Internal Conflict: The Yemenite Babies AffairIsraeli Media and the Framing of Internal Conflict: The Yemenite Babies Affair by Shoshana Madmoni-Gerber
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oppression of the Yemenite by Their Ashkenazi Brethren

It was at the beginning of the nation state's history that almost the entire Jewish population of Yemen was airlifted to Israel in what was called "operation magic carpet". The story made front page and everyone thought they would live happily ever after. Unfortunately their was a very dark side to this "In gathering of the Exiles" thousands of babies were kidnapped or went missing depending on who your listen to.

The Yemenite Jews complained but no one in the government listened. Today it is still open wound. A wound that will nOt heal until a proper investigation occurs and the truth is revealed. The obstacle to this revelation is the Istaeli govt.

Yemenite author , shoshana madmoni Gerber, has investigated the Israeli government's cover up of this issue through the lenses of scholarly critique and a thorough analysis of how the Israeli government has historically treated the Jews from the Middle East.

From the beginning Israel has maintained itself as a European country smack dab in the Middle East. Anything Arabic or Middle Eastern was deemed as primative and barbaric, that included Middle Eastern Jews. In order to reduce their dependency on local Palestinian labor the Ashkenazi Zionists imported Middle Eatern or Mizrachi Jews over as cheap labor.

Once brought over the Muzrachim were doused with DDT and put into tin shacks, while Ashkenazi Jews were given better housing and living conditions. The Yemenites were traAted even worse. They were subject to physical abuse, theft of sacred objects and the kidnapping of their children. When they tried to make their voices heard the Israeli press was instrumental in silencing them.

The press which is dominated by the goverenment portrays the Mizrachim as primitive and backward. The press created the impression that the Yemenites were unclean and did not care for their children , yet the opposite was true . They did care for their children and when they spoke up and took action against their plight the press and goverent made them seem like violen separatists bent on destroying national unity . Three inquiries were set up which could only ask questions yielded nothing.

This is one of the greatest tragedies in Israel's history. Jews oppressing fellow Jews. A good documentation of Israel's real face one thT she tries to hide from the world .

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Druze of Israel

The Olive and the Tree: The Secret Strength of the DruzeThe Olive and the Tree: The Secret Strength of the Druze by Ruth Westheimer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Druze of the Holy Land

Situated in the north of what is recognized today as the Modern State of Israel, lies a community that is a minority within a minority. The Arabs are minorities in Israel and the Druze are a minority amongst the Arabs. Little is known about these hill dweller who have villages in the Carmel, Galilee and Golan. Their religion is secret even amongst themselves, their history though available to all is by and large unstudied. The Israeli Jews go up there for great deals, good food and warm hospitality. The Druze are known for the loyalty to the state. They serve in the Israeli Defense forces and have lost a high proportion of their numbers in the IDF defending the country, even a higher proportion then Israeli Jews do. The Druze believe in a concept of taqiyah which abides them to go along with the sovereign of where they live.

Dr. Ruth Westheimer , noted author on many books on sex, has delved into this little known community with the help of Gil Sedan. Her research started off as a documentary which then turned into a book. She has a Jewish background and is both a survivor of the Holocaust and a veteran of the Jewish Haganah. Her book is very even handed and those who know nothing about the Druze will find this book to be both a light read and very informative. Not many are able to plumb into the depths of the community as she has.

She covers several topics in this book such as relations to the state,religion , customs and more. As noted earlier the Druze are loyal to the state of residence, and there are Druze in Syria, Lebanon and Israel. Each Druze community is loyal to  the state and their own people.The Druze loyalty to Israel has put some friction between the Israeli Druze and the others. Yet they believe in loyalty to the Druze.Such a stance has alienated them from other Arabs.

As for religion it is very secretive even amongst themselves. Most Druze are not religious in fact they have few rituals and very few religious commandments. Like Muslims they are to refrain from adultery, alcohol and smoking. Most of them though do smoke. The ones who know and study the religion are called the "Wiseones" and the ones who are the majority and secular are known as "Ignorant ones" When a Druze becomes observant they shave their head, grow a handlebar mustache and wear a turban like hat. In the Druze religion both men and women are deemed equal and both can become knowers of the religion.

This equality extends onto other areas of life. Both can work and hold jobs and pursue education. A woman can also divorce a man as a man can divorce a woman. Once they are divorced however, there is no going back. The equality does not extend into all  areas of life. While the Druze way may not include honor killings that are present in Arab culture it is still  there. Both male and female druze are not allowed to marry outside of the community, For men the penalty would be banishment, loss of inheritance, children not part of  the community and for a woman the penalty is death. The Druze have been known to carry out this penatly. This is followed more strictly in Israel then it is in Syria or Lebanon.

THe religious extremist among the Druze have tried to limit womens freedom but have not been successful. They wanted women in the home and not be allowed to drive a car. The community did not listen. In Israel the Druze identity is more solid and reinforced then it is in other countries. In ARab countries they identify themselves as Arab while in Israel they are definitely Druze. As noted earlier the Druze are loyal  to the state but that special relationship has been strained at times.

While the Druze serve in the army, other ARab like Muslims and Christians go to university and get higher paying jobs.  When the Druze leave the army they are often lagging behind in education and are often unemployed while their Christian and Muslim counterparts are working and building homes for their family.  The Druze are often treated with both trust and mistrust and do not have the same opportunities as the Jews do. This has caused tension between the communities.

The Jews and Druze have been allies since post World War 1. Yet the Druze are not treated equally and in many respects lose out. Another factor complicating things has been Israels favoritism of the Christians over the Druze when Israel invaded Lebanon. Some of the Druze revolted and joined the Lebanese Druze against Israel. Not all Druze identify with Israel some have identified with the Palestinian cause and have advocated against serving in the IDF.

The Druze of the Golan are a different category, being Syrian citizens under Israeli occupation. After the 1967 war they found themselves under Israeli rule and at first they availed themselves of the many opportunities it provided them. Yet when Israel returned the Sinai desert to the Egyptian they started becoming more Syrian. The author makes it like thhey appreciate living in Israel but if the land is ever returned to Syria they will be asked why they were so cozy with the Israelis.

Another interesting aspect of their religion is the belief in reinacarnation. They believe that after they die they will be born into another Druze body and this is something that they believe strongly. They have stories of memories andd of knowing people form past lives.

The book gives a brief sketch of their over all history, on how they came to live in Israel and a bit more in depth view of their relationship with Israel. If you wish to learn more about the Druze this is a good place to start.

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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Hawaiian Magic

Hawaiian Religion & MagicHawaiian Religion & Magic by Scott Cunningham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Scott Cunningham most noted for his works on Wicca and witchcraft had spent considerable time in Hawaii and became enamored with the culture. What follows is an informative easy to read book that gives the reader insight into some of the ways of Hawaii's spirituality. At best the book An in depth overview that could leave one hungering for more. Fortunately for those with more than a passing interest there is a nice sized bibliography in the back .

While much of Hawaiian spirituality may have been lost with the coming of Christian missionaries there is still plenty that remains. I am willing to wager that Scott Cunningham knew more then what he put in the pages and the potential magician may have found a world view that he or she can apply to their magic but the book is sparse I magical techniques. Still it provides a very enjoyable and informative read.

Some of the subjects discussed are the history of the Hawaiian people and their deities. Most known is Pele but there are others and they are known as the akua. The amakua are the deified ancencestors Hawiian families. Sometimes the Amakua take in animal forms or simply appear to guide their descendants. Kapu were prohibitions or taboos. If a certain families amakua came back as sharks it would be forbidden fir that family to eat sharks. Not all the deceased became amakua. Some ghosts found their way to the after life by finding to right cliff to dive off of. Those that did not find their way remained to haunt others and steal their food ,

Chiefs were called Ulii and were considered to have possessed more mana then regular people . People did not defile their shadow and oft time prostrated themselves before the chief. The chief like others had their clothing guarded so sorcerers could not curse them . On fact every one protected their cothing. Kahunas were priests or experts. Beneath them were prophets. After that were the common folk .

The Hawaiians believed that everything possessed mana or life energy. Different types of people had differnt types as did plants, animals and stones.

The book discussed some sacrifice to the gods for different thing. It also discussed magical uses for stones and plants. The lunar month and important days was elaborated upon and the astrology was touched upon.

The book serves as a nice introduction into Hawaiian spirituality .

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Sunday, October 5, 2014

Contacting your Holy Guardian Angel

After the AngelAfter the Angel by Lon Milo DuQuette
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

nteresting diary of how working the Abramelin working over a period of several months altered and changed the life of the author. The working was done over a nine month period and the author like most of us had to interact with the secular/mundane world.Like most of us we could not just retire from the world and do our working,so modifications had to be made. While doing this working the author noted many changes in his world that affected both him and his family members. Having to do operations and prayer andd meditation along with fasts tended to make one feel somewhat disconnected from reality. The working brings about change and confusion. Dreams are effected as well as the author was flooded with memories and very strange dream that often times invovled religious experience both Pagan and monotheistic. His family member were also visited by dreams and sometimes even nightmares. In the physical world things would begin to knock over, cats would hiss and the family would hear strange sounds both day and night.

What is the purpose of the Abramelin working you might ask? The purpose is conversation and contact with your holy guardian angel. Contact with your angel changes your reality. It brings you enlihgtenment and disorientation. The results are worth it but In will add my own caveat. Such a working should probably be done under some contact of guidance of an actual physical mentor or teacher. The book does not give any in depth ritual steps or incense recipes and on the surface of things it gives you a rather cursory glance.

For me the book opened up several doorways. First off it is reconnecting me to the deep spiritual tradition of Western Mysticism. This includes Sufi, Kabballah and Christian mysticism. There is some deep stuff there that any magical worker should not ignore. There are also references to several awesome books to read for further investigation. I may never do the working in my life time but I did pull out several things that could assist me in developing my spiritual practice. I will most likeley include them in a longer review included on my blog granovitch.blogspot.com. I gave this book 4/5 stars.

View all my reviews Extended note Say psalm 23 for protection. Inspirational poem Climb thou onward and uphill still, Bravely , joyously mount the hill. Love and mercy are shining over. All life's journey by sea and shore. Thou nothing knowest of the road thou goest. Yet be thou strong all the way long. Know the guide before thee . Rectify us with good advice before you. By Rebbe Nachman Books to read Angels and Mortal Anthony Duncan Book of Lilith Black goddess and the sith sense The wise wound Essential paper on Hasidism Irina Tweedy Way of Kabballah Kabballah of prayer Unto thee I commit myself with the promise of love and fidelity I beg you protect me against my own weakness and against the attacks of the wicked spirits. Enlighten my mind and my heart so that I may always know and accomplish the will of God. Come forth of secret star teach the soul to know it self. Lord o my soul oh lord my god thou art very grate. Thou art clothed with honor and majesty: who cover thyself with light as with a garment ; who stretch out the heavens like a curtain who layeth beams of his chambers in water, who makes clouds his chariot, who walks upon the wings of wind, who makes angels his spirits; his ministers of fire. blessed are those who hunger and thirst for a foundation of peace between the warring parts of themselves. They shall find all around the materials Four Dark FamiliRs Midnight to 6 am palgoth 6 am to noon demina pleasing woman Noon to 6 pm shadrik hulking brute who removed obstacle 6 to midnite zenos. Hooded knower of secrets

Baba-Sali

Baba-Sali
Holy Morroccan Sage engaged in Prayer

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One blond hair blue eyed Calfornian who totally digs the Middle East.
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